In Britain we need to ensure that skills are not only preserved and developed but also handed on to the next generation so that we have a future economy as well as a past.
A good example is provided in perhaps an unexpected sector. Epping Forest, on the northeastern edges of London, has appointed an Arborist Team with three apprentices to join the current Conservation Arborist Teams.
Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund is being used to support these apprentices through the learning and development required to become fully qualified arborists with valuable work experience. College classes will complement the work based learning in the environment of Epping Forest.
Epping Forest is one of only five sites in Britain with more than 2,000 ancient trees. “Keystone” trees are to be chosen; trees which affect the survival and abundance of other key species and are fundamental to sustaining the character and biodiversity of the Epping Forest landscape.
The apprentices, starting work in late September, will aim to achieve an NVQ in Trees and Timber along with three nationally recognised chainsaw operation certificates. Epping Forest is offering three apprenticeships each year throughout the five-year life of the Branching Out project providing 15 opportunities to embark on a career in arboriculture.